Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Sarah Joseph and Adam McBeth
Chapter 13: The Council of Europe and the Protection of Human Rights: A System in Need of Reform
Virginia Mantouvalou and Panayotis Voyatzis* 1 Introduction Having been founded by ten countries in 1949, the Council of Europe is the oldest regional human rights organisation in Europe.1 Its aim at its inception was to achieve greater unity between Member States in the aftermath of the Second World War, to protect and promote their common heritage and to facilitate their socio-economic progress.2 Today both the composition and the purposes of the organisation have changed. Membership increased greatly following the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, with the organisation now comprising 47 Member States.3 In recognition of the expansion of membership and the changing needs of Europe, a ‘source of immense hope’4 in the words of European Heads of State, there have been three Summits to reconsider the Council’s evolving aims in recent years. Several declarations and action plans have been adopted, stating the new political purposes and ways to pursue them. In 1993 the Council of * The views expressed in this text are solely those of the co-author and do not represent those of the European Court of Human Rights or any other institution. An early draft was presented in the context of the Human Rights Lecture Series of the University of Leicester, Centre for European Law and Integration. 1 The States that established the Council of Europe are Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. 2 Statute of the Council of Europe, opened for signature 5 May 1949, 87 UNTS...
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